EXCELLENCE IN BEGINNING TO TEACH
Annan Whittington’s former career as a tradesman, his skills as an accomplished Rugby League coach and his passionate advocacy for mental health have seen him make a significant difference as a beginning teacher at the Southern Cross Catholic College (SCCC) in Annandale, and across the greater Townsville region.
The Industrial Technology and Design, Furnishing and Certificate I in Construction teacher has been able to lever his position as one of SCCC’s head sport coaches to build enthusiasm and engagement in classes, including with previously disengaged students.
Annan also brought teenagers from across the Townsville district together for a Schoolboy Rugby League 9’s event, which he created to promote Queensland Mental Health Week.
SCCC Principal Gregory Cameron says Annan, who has been at the College for two years, is a “great classroom teacher” who has quickly become a strong role model for students, particularly boys focussed on sporting pathways.
“As a coach, Annan has been able to give guidance to his students that has led to improved classroom performance in a wide range of subjects taught by other teachers, by instilling clear and positive expectations of the way that sporting team members are to conduct themselves in all aspects of their school life,” Gregory says.
“As a teacher of woodwork and design, he has worked with a small team to make his teaching and learning area one of the most popular for students at our College while maintaining a high degree of rigour and skill development,” the Principal says.
“He works closely with colleagues to use his specialist knowledge – from his time as a tradesman – to enhance existing teaching programs and develop new opportunities for students. He demonstrates exemplary teaching of subjects using effective learning and teaching programs.”
Annan’s arrival at the College has also led to the transformation of its Rugby League program.
“He has quietly but successfully transformed the program, giving confidence and support to other coaches, players and the College,” Gregory says.
“To build on the Rugby League development that has already occurred, Annan has been appointed as the leader of our College’s Rugby League Academy. This has allowed for greater funding and development to occur and has been applauded by our parent body.”
Annan is passionate about men’s mental health and has played a key role in creating opportunities for students to participate in mentoring sessions and team building activities to build resilience.
He is also a volunteer organiser of a retreat program called Boys to Men, which provides space for Year 9 boys to spend time together engaging in activities and conversations which promote health and wellbeing.
“Annan works to deliver strategies for strong and positive constructive action addressing mental health issues in our College and beyond,” Gregory says.
“He is looking like, with greater experience, to become a Pastoral Leader so that he can use his talents in areas of guidance and support of students more fully to assist a greater range of students,” the Principal says.
“Although he is teaching skills for immediate use, he has an influence on students that extends well beyond the classroom or sporting field and helps students to be more successful community members, and have a work ethic and standards that benefit them in all areas of their lives.”
Congratulations Annan on being shortlisted for a TEACHX Excellence in Beginning to Teach Award.